Envy Is Not Jealousy

Can God be loving and jealous both? Let’s plunge into Deeper Waters and find out.

If you ever want to know how not to read the Bible, one of the best things to do is to just go to an atheist web site and look at the attempts to show Bible contradictions. Most of them are outright hysterical. It’s so bad that you can even find satire illustrating the position, and this one is so excellent. I’ve sadly found several people who don’t even realize it’s satire, some of them commenting on the piece itself.

One of the latest fundamentalist atheist hits is this little image going around:


It’s incredible to see how much this image has spread and that anyone finds it to be a convincing argument shows how badly our thinking capacities are being damaged in this day and age.

Let’s start out with something that should be a simple point but is apparently not.

Envy is not jealousy.

You see, when a person is envious, that means that they want something that someone else has that they do not have and they resent the person for having it. Many of us can want something someone else has and so we go out and buy it or work hard to get it or something of that sort. That’s not what’s being talked about. An example in the OT is King Saul and David. David was getting more honor than Saul and Saul thought he had a right to that honor. He decided he needed to kill David to get that honor. This is especially so when the ancient world had the concept of limited good. That meant that all goods were seen as limited, including honor. If you had honor, that meant someone else lost it. David gaining honor would mean Saul was losing it. It’s also the same reason the Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus. Jesus was getting honor and taking it away from the Pharisees.

Now God does desire honor, but He also has the right to all honor for He is the greater good. God is also jealous. This will not be denied as it is said in the Old Testament. God’s jealousy is geared towards His own people and in the ancient world, this would have been seen as something honorable. If you had exclusive rights to something, it was shameful to let it be used for a contrary reason. Many of us today still practice this. I would be more than willing to let you borrow a book from my library. Do you want to enjoy the same rights to my wife that I enjoy? Better not even think about that one!

The jealousy a husband nobly has for his wife is like that which God has for His people. God is in an exclusive covenant relationship with His people and He does not want anyone else intruding on that and in fact, it is for the good of His people. It is because He loves and honors them. The reason I do not let anyone else sleep with my wife is not because I want to ban her from having any pleasure. It is because I do not treat her like a common good and know that she has an exclusive relationship with me and I have one with her and in turn, I do not sleep with any other women.

Once again, we see pitiful fundamentalist atheist hermeneutics at work. I will believe fundamentalist atheists are people of evidence when I see some evidence they learn how to actually research the topics they argue against.

In Christ,
Nick Peters